|China Helps Africa Fight COVID-19|
Development Innovation Insider (Diinsider), a development communications agency, held a webinar on Chinese companies using digital technology to share their anti-pandemic experience and spread pandemic prevention knowledge in Africa. They also discussed how to learn from China’s practice to help Africa control the pandemic and promote the development of African digital technology.
At the webinar, Zhang Yanru, associate professor at the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, introduced the achievements of digital anti-pandemic cooperation between China and Africa, with Zhejiang Province as the prime example. She said that Zhejiang Province, relying on its advantages in digital economy development, is encouraging medical institutions, private companies, and China’s medical teams in Africa to participate in the “Cloud anti-pandemic campaign.”
By establishing online health platforms, training medical staff remotely, and publishing results digitally on pandemic prevention and control, Zhejiang Province has helped to effectively promote the construction of the African public health system and contributed to the construction of the Sino-African community of health. Zhang added that Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. has established a virtual platform to share the experience of fighting against COVID-19 and launched a healthcare training program in Africa. To date, the program has trained over 3000 African medical workers online.
A project dubbed “Access to TV for 10,000 African villages” was launched at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015. The Chinese government pledged to provide satellite televisions for 10,000 African villages. According to Ma Shaoyong from StarTimes Group, who is in charge of this overseas project, the company has completed the first phase of the project. This project is also helping to spread pandemic prevention information.
Ma said at the webinar that StarTimes has produced programs such as Pandemic Prevention Daily Show and broadcasts their programs free of charge in local languages through television and the Internet so as to publicize pandemic prevention knowledge to the people of Africa. Amos Malupenga, secretary of Zambia’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, spoke highly of the company: “StarTimes, as a media group, has played a strategic role in our pandemic prevention. They have spread helpful and effective information to the public and reduced the pressure on our local medical system.”
Hannah Ryder, chief executive officer at Development Reimagined—a Kenyan-owned company in Beijing—said at the webinar that COVID-19 has provided new opportunities for digital development in Africa. For example, the Moroccan Ministry of Health has built a telemedicine platform to provide online services for patients. Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control has built iQube Labs, which can directly address pandemic emergency requests. Some African countries have also established e-commerce platforms that provide health solutions via consumer products.
Ryder said that China, as a leader in the digital industry, has high Internet coverage and has witnessed the rapid development of digital payment technology. African countries hope to learn from China’s experience in the development of digital technologies such as telemedicine and e-commerce for poverty alleviation. (By Tian Shida, translated by Jin Haiqiong, edited by Kendra Fiddler)